I came across an article in The Guardian ranking the best albums of 2018. In recent years I’ve drifted father and farther away from new artists and new music and new releases. What better way to remedy the situation than by utilizing the full power of the awesome music library that I have at my disposal (Spotify subscription) to begin updating myself. Most of the albums on the list display a preference for identity pop or “a fine selection of albums that range from the socially conscious to the political, as well as pure slices of ecstatic rock and cutting rap.” And so it was that in listening through the list that I came across Chicago native Noname, a talented poet and rapper. I’m quite taken with her 2018 album Room 25. The album starts out with a bang. Here are the first two tracks, Self and Blaxploitation. Self Blaxploitation
Good reading in The Atlantic on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal. It highlights one of the overarching differences in the political strategy of the old Democrats (Obama/Clintons) versus the new progressive/leftist breed. The difference isn’t so much about policies as it is about how these policies are framed. The new progressive wave is based more on story and narrative, and this makes it an exciting time to be on the left because the leaders of the movement are appealing to something that can inspire a movement. It’s an approach that could win, and that means there is hope.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Socialist heading to Congress after that yuge and most excellent didn’t-see-that-coming grassroots victory, had a bit of a snarky exchange with a conservative over the weekend. It started with a Tweet by Ocasio-Cartez: how is Columbus Day a holiday but Election Day not? The Daily Mail’s U.S. political editor David Martosko quote tweeted Ocasio-Cortez and wrote that she “hasn’t even started the job yet and she’s already angling for more vacation days.”
“Whether the Republican establishment likes it or not – and more and more are actually perfectly happy with it – the Grand Old Party is now Trump’s Party. Their fate is intertwined with his. The old conservative Republican party is dead, for now. In the coming two years they will campaign as a radical right party, led by an omnipresent leader, who will define the Republican party for a whole generation of Americans.”
Trump is hitting the campaign trail, hitting it hard in the way that Trumpty Dumpty sort of way he has, and one of his repeated platitudes is some variation of “I’m not on the ballot, but I’m on the ballot,” also taking the form of “think of yourself as voting for me.” I haven’t been following this election as carefully as I should. I haven’t been well. I’ve been struggling with digestive/gut issues since last spring, and it’s taken its toll. My energy levels have been pretty low.
My time is winding down here in McCarthy, and so I’m trying to enjoy the last week of my time in Alaska, which isn’t hard to do with all the September sunshine, a welcome relief after an Angry August of rain and cold. It’s also easy to enjoy the time here because as more and more folks disperse in the annual Alaska diaspora, the bar empties out save for locals. Last night I was chatting with a local buddy at the bar. He lives in McCarthy now, but he’s originally from California. We started talking politics and culture, and eventually he began reminiscing about attending Iraq War protests, back during the Bush years. The protests seemed to have left a distinct impression on him, mostly negative. They felt a bit ineffective, quixotic even. He mentioned a certain festival type of atmosphere, with fire jugglers.
It was encouraging to read about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders visiting Wichita, Kansas, for a massive rally in support of congressional candidate James Thompson. Is the red state ready to turn blue? For those of you who live outside the Midwest, you should that there’s an anti-Trump sentiment that is strong — and growing, and slowly morphing into activism. It’s slow because, frankly, most of us born in the Midwestern aren’t activists, by nature. I won’t be surprised, though, to watch the Midwest develop their own version of a progressive movement and to watch this movement grow deep roots in the heartland.